Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Well, That Would Suck Now, Wouldn't It.......


As all four regular readers of this blog may know, I do like to post about asteroids and our SERIOUS LACK OF ATTENTION paid to the potential of being hit by one of these spacerocks. I still stand by my concern for the bigger picture concerning this issue (and on that note once again I will direct you to the B612 Foundation). However, there was a time I emailed the ever studious Stephen Den Beste from the USS Clueless, and discussed the issues concerning impacts. He agreed that whilst this was troubling, there is another astronomical threat that dwarfs asteroids by a quite a bit-and there isn't a thing we could do about it. A recent cruise over to Jay Manifold at A Voyage to Arcturus reveals said threat-

Monster star burst was brighter than full Moon

Fri Feb 18, 2:23 PM ET Science - AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Stunned astronomers described the greatest cosmic explosion ever monitored -- a star burst from the other side of the galaxy that was briefly brighter than the full Moon and swamped satellites and telescopes.

The high-radiation flash, detected last December 27, caused no harm to Earth but would have literally fried the planet had it occurred within a few light years of home.

Normally reserved skywatchers struggled for superlatives.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event," said Rob Fender of Britain's Southampton University.

"We have observed an object only 20 kilometers (12 miles) across, on the other side of our galaxy, releasing more energy in a 10th of a second than the Sun emits in 100,000 years."

"It was the mother of all magnetic flares -- a true monster," said Kevin Hurley, a research physicist at the University of California at Berkeley.

Bryan Gaensler of the United States' Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics(
also a contender for understatement of the year award-ed.), described the burst as "maybe a once per century or once per millennium event in our galaxy -astronomically speaking- this explosion happened in our backyard. If it were in our living room, we'd be in big trouble."

Here is an artist's impression of a shell of gamma-rays moving away from SGR 1806-20 following the outburst, and sweeping across the galaxy until they interact with the Earth.

So you know, there's that.

Also included in Jay Manifolds recent updates was this very impressive collection of some of Hubbles finest snapshots, set to a slide show with some orchestral space music arrangement. Pretty cool....

No comments: